Category Archives: Sweet treats

Malted Chocolate Muffins

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I think the last time I ate Maltezers I was probably 12 years old out at the movies with a bunch of friends.  We thought it was hilarious tossing them down the old wooden steps, much to the irritation of all the adults in the theatre.  So with such silly memories awakened when I came upon this recipe I just had to give it a go.

These muffins are rich in flavour and moist and light in texture. Very more-ish!

  • 150g malted chocolate balls (such as Maltesers)
  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1 T baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 90g melted butter, cooled

Preheat oven to 200c.  Grease or line a 12 hole muffin tin.

Roughly crush chocolate balls, reserving 12 whole ones for decoration.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Mix in sugar and crushed chocolate balls.

I a smaller bowl, lightly beat eggs, add buttermilk and butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Stir with a metal spoon until just combined.  Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch.

Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once fully cooled, spread with icing and top each muffin with a reserved chocolate ball.

Icing

  • 60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 110g softened butter

220g icing sugar

To make icing, melt chocolate.  Add butter and icing sugar and beat well until smooth, light and creamy.

Adapted from Muffins: Simple and Delicious.  Paragon Books, c2010, p56.

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Cashew Honey Squares

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Cashew Honey Squares Today’s recipe is adapted from one in one of my newer cookbooks: The Baking Collection from The Australian Women’s Weekly.  Like so many Women’s Weekly cookbooks this one is a winner – sweet treats of every description from simple cakes and cookies to decadent pastries and fancy holiday delights.  An excellent collection of old fashioned Aussie favourites with some modern interpretations. These squares are soft and moist – more like mini cakes than a slice.  The honey works so beautifully with the cashews.  To top it all off they are SO easy.

Recipe

  • 1 c (150g) SR wholemeal flour
  • 1 c (220g) caster sugar
  • 1 c (90g) rolled oats
  • 1 c (80g) desiccated coconut
  • 2/3 c (70g) cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 g butter melted, cooled slightly
  • 1 T honey
  • ½ c chopped cashews, extra

Honey Icing

  • 1 ½   c (160g) pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 60 g butter, melted
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T hot water, approximately

Preheat oven to 160C. Line 23cm x 32cm (9” x 13”) swiss roll pan with baking paper. Combine dry ingredients and mix. Add eggs, butter and honey and mix well. Press firmly into pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slice in pan. Meanwhile, make honey icing. Mix sugar, butter and honey well. Add enough water to make runny enough to pour. Spread over the slice, and top with remaining cashews. Adapted from Honey Walnut and Oat Squares, in The Baking Collection / The Australian Womens’ Weekly, 2013.

Book - TheBakingCollection

A holiday followed by an Apricot Cranberry Slice

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I’m back after another long absence from my blog. My time away has been a mixture of tedium – taxes, taxes and more taxes – and fun – a fabulous holiday to New Zealand’s South Island.

People rave about New Zealand’s beauty.  It has a reputation I thought might be hard to live up to. But New Zealand actually is as stunningly beautiful as people say it is.  The land is raw and untamed and magnificent.

 Queenstown

And it was the whole place.  Everywhere we traveled (and we covered a good deal of the island) was just lovely.

 Milford Sound

After Australia’s hot dry flat landscape, those steep snow capped hills are wondrous.

 Wanaka

And all those lakes, rivers, streams and waterfalls are glorious!

 sheep

And – it’s true – there really are sheep EVERYWHERE!

It was hard work coming home and getting back into routine. But it was nice to get back into my own kitchen, after a few weeks of cooking in a motor home!

After weeks without homemade sweet treats, the kids were keen for me to get straight back into baking.  This slice has a wonderfully soft moist cake-like texture and a lovely fruity flavour.

Apricot Cranberry Slice

  • ½ c chopped dried apricots
  • ½ c chopped dried cranberries
  • ½ c hot black tea
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • ½ c raw caster sugar
  • 1 lg egg
  • 110 g flour
  • 1 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C. Line loaf pan with baking paper.

Soak apricots and cranberries in hot tea until fruit softens and absorbs tea.

In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add egg and beat in well. Add flour and beat in again.

Stir in fruit mixture and mix until well combined. Pour into pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan before gently removing.

 Apricot Cranberry Slice

A very lovely recipe… and a wholesome muesli bar

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I collect recipes.  I have magazines and folders and catalogue cards and scraps of paper with hastily scribbled recipes everywhere.  And now that I have this blog, I have my blog books – the place to record  ideas, and more recipes.

Recently I started a new book.  The other day I was surprised to discover a new recipe in it – written by my 8 year old daughter.  It goes like this (spelling and all):

“The bLovelyRecipeWriterest recipie ever

1.  cup of love
2.  worm cups of yummy enthusiasim
3.  Sprinkle of care.
Then you have your family bread”

Completely delicious!!

And for something wholesome to chew on as we ponder the words of babes, I offer this wonderful crunchy flavor-filled and easy to make muesli bar.  Perfect for school lunch boxes, work day treats, or general munchies.

Apricot Seeded Muesli Bar 2

Seedy Apricot Muesli Bar

Recipe

  • 1  c oats
  • ½ c sesame seeds
  • ½ c sunflower seeds
  • ½ c pumpkin seeds
  • ½ c raw cashews, crushed
  • 2 T wheatgerm
  • 1 T linseed meal
  • 1 c desiccated coconut
  • 1 c dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 T white chia seeds
  • 125 g butter
  • ½ c honey
  • 1/3 c brown sugar

Line a 16 x 28 cm tray.

In a large frying pan, cook oats, nuts, and pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds over a medium low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add wheatgerm, linseed meal and coconut and cook for a further 4 minutes, stirring constantly until ingredients are just starting to brown. Remove immediately from heat and place in large bowl.  Add apricots and chia seeds.

In a small saucepan heat butter, sugar and honey until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes without stirring.  Pour into dry ingredients and mix well – but quickly.

Press mixture into the tray and press down evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours before slicing.

Easy Mixed Berry Muffins

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After some time offline, I am back with news of my new website, and a new muffin recipe.

I am finally taking the plunge to my own domain, now live on www.bakingbohemian.com.  I’ll be discontinuing this wordpress site in the next couple of weeks and  I look forward to seeing you at my new place!

This muffin recipe is fantastic for those times you have to come up with something but you don’t have the time or the energy to fuss.

Mixed Berry Muffins

Recipe

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T dried corn powder or custard powder
  • 1 c raw caster sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 c frozen blueberries
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c light olive oil
  • 3/4 c milk

Preheat oven to 185C.  Line a standard 1/3 c muffin tin with muffin cases.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients well. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, vanilla, oil and milk until well blended.

Add berries to flour mixture and mix gently to cover well with flour.  Pour in egg mixture and stir gently with a metal spoon until just combined.

Distribute evenly into the muffin cases.  Bake for 22-25 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre of one of the centre muffins comes out clean.

Caramel Corn

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Caramel Popcorn

Saturday night was all about soccer.  Manchester United was in Sydney to play a match against a collection of A League players from the Australian premier competition.   There were more than 80,000 people filling the stadium, and it was a sea of Manchester red. The devoted fans, one of whom is my son, were out in force.   It was loads of fun.  The crowd was hyped – and surprisingly well behaved! – and there were lots of goals scored!   Although, fun as it was I have to admit I felt deeply for those brave Australian players, who were playing at ‘home’ with a team that had been cobbled together for the event, while the spectators by and large, and the commentators were SO not there to see them!   Tough gig – and we really should be proud of them, if only in retrospect.

So we traipsed off to the stadium nice and early, thinking that with 5 very very excited young boys in tow, the 3 adults would have to work hard to keep them close amidst the crowds.  ‘Frogs in a wheelbarrow’ springs to mind…  So once we had them all seated (took a while to herd them up to the 6th tier!) we wanted to keep them settled.  And for that, the key was plenty of food! Junk food is an expectation at such an event, but I had to make sure that at least some of it was homemade.

This candy corn is such an easy thing to whip up beforehand – as long as you do it early enough to give it time to set.

Try not to eat while the Mexican wave is passing through…

Recipe

  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c popping corn

Caramel

  • 125 g butter
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 T honey

Line a large baking tray (preferably with a lip around the edges) with baking paper.

Heat oil in saucepan.  Test that it is hot enough by adding a couple of kernels of corn – if they start to spin, the oil is ready.  Add the corn and making sure that the lid if firmly held on, gently toss as the kernels pop. I used a glass lidded pan so that I can see what’s happening – and it’s fun watching them pop.  Remove from heat as soon as the popping stops and place in a large lightly oiled bowl.

Prepare the caramel. Chop butter into a saucepan and add sugar. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the honey and bring to boil, and cook without stirring until mixture turns a light golden colour.  Remove from heat and pour over popcorn.  Give the popcorn a mix to even out the caramel coating. Transfer to the baking tray and spread out. You need to work very quickly because the caramel will stiffen very quickly.  Leave to set.

Once the caramel has hardened, break the popcorn up and place in containers.

 

Caramel Popcorn 2

 

Banana Pecan Slice

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Banana Pecan Slice

We eat a lot of bananas in our house. They are a shopping basket staple, but no matter how many are chomped up in smoothies, lunches and pre-sport snacks, inevitably we end up with a few sad and soggy bananas going brown on the bottom of the fruit bowl.

Thankfully that is just the way they need to be for cooking a whole host of banana-based sweets.

This slice is moist while the topping is wonderfully crunchy and buttery.

Recipe

• 1 c self raising flour
• ½ t ground cinnamon
• ½ t ground nutmeg or cloves
• 60 g butter, softened
• ½ c sugar
• 1 banana, mashed
• 1 large egg
• ¼ c milk
• ¼ c pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 15 x 25 cm slice pan.
Beat butter and sugar until pale and cream. Add mashed banana and beat well. Add the egg and beat for 2 minutes. Add milk and flour alternately. Stir pecans in and pour into prepared tin.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until spongy to the touch.

 Topping

• ¾ c butter, very soft
• ¾ c brown sugar
• ¾ c desiccated coconut

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. While slice is still warm, gently spread the topping evenly over the top. Place the slice under a hot griller until it has melted and started sizzling. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely before cutting.